Majority of people think shooting birds for sport should be illegal - poll

A traditional pheasant shooting
A traditional pheasant shooting

Almost seven in 10 people think shooting birds for sport should be illegal, polling for animal protection groups suggests.

Asked if shooting birds for sport should be illegal or legal, 69% said it should be illegal while 18% said it should be legal, the survey of 2,060 adults by YouGov for the League Against Cruel Sports and Animal Aid found.

The poll also suggests that four fifths (80%) of people were against the practice of breeding pheasants and partridges in cages before their release into the countryside for shooting.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, accused the shooting industry of trying to "paint pheasant and partridge shooting as some kind of traditional, idyllic activity which puts food on the table".

"That image has been blown out of the sky because people clearly don't believe it any more."

He said many of the birds bred for shooting die on the roads or are wounded rather than killed outright during shoots, and many are not eaten after being killed.

Isobel Hutchinson, director of Animal Aid, said: "This poll proves that the vast majority of the public abhor the cruelty inflicted on birds by the shooting industry."

She also welcomed the finding that most people did not agree with the use of cages for breeding the birds.

"It is time for politicians to take notice of public opinion and as a first, vital step, ban the cruel cages," she urged.